DIY 15: 2018 - Mary Paterson & Deborah Pearson: Homme de Plume

Invent a pseudonym, see what happens

Deadline for applications: 5pm, Mon 18 June
This DIY is supported by the National Theatre

Project summary

Power structures. Knowing about them doesn't make them go away. They act on us silently and cumulatively, backing us into corners, slamming doors in our faces, not responding to our emails .... or whispering in our ears that we shouldn't write emails in the first place. The person who notices the workings of power is often made to explain them again and again, until their identity becomes a continuous performance of the structures they are excluded from. What if they want to make work about other things? 

Artists Mary Paterson and Deborah Pearson invite you to spend three days inventing a pseudonym at the National Theatre.  This pseudonym can be replete with accolades, lying on a silk cushion of entitlement, their emails eagerly answered and doors breezily opened. They are an artist who will elegantly and simply pass from "Enfant Terrible" to "Working Genius" to "Master of their Craft" in the public's eye, and who never has to justify how they got there in the first place. These pseudonyms are not our work, but fictions we will create to see if we can make a different kind of work possible. 

The first day of the DIY will be spent criticising, admiring, dismissing and discussing the work of famous white male artists, and deciding how best to use this information to create our own pseudonymous artists.  The second day will be spent creating material for our pseudonym's identity and work.  How far can we push their career in three months time?  Three months later we'll meet again and see where our pseudonyms ended up.  

Let’s all take on entitlement for a bit, just to see what happens. It’s not about upholding what we should be dismantling, but testing the limits of what oppresses all of us, the entitled included. 

This copy was amended for clarity on June 12th, 2018.

How to apply

Where possible, we will select participants from a range of disciplines and experiences. 

The online application asks about your existing practice, which part of your identity (real, perceived, or imagined) you feel might be holding you back, and the kind of work you would make if you were free.


Dates, times and location

Dates: 2 - 3 Jul, then 31 Oct, with solo tasks in between
Times: 10am - 7pm each day
Location: National Theatre, London

The artists

Mary Paterson is a writer and artist who frequently works collaboratively. She co-runs the collaborative projects Something Other and The Department of Feminist Conversations.

Deborah Pearson is an artist and writer and co-director of the artist led curation collective Forest Fringe. She already uses several pseudonyms and guises of anonymity for secret work that she does not dare mention in such an application. Her named work has been published by Oberon, has toured to fifteen countries and four continents, and has been translated and performed in several languages.

For questions about this DIY, please contact Mary.

Part of DIY 15: 2018 - Call for Participants